Andrew Wong, one of the co-founders of Onion Design Associates, shares with us about how he blends his two passions to create stunning visuals.
Q: Most of your works revolve around music – from album artwork to music festival posters. Why are you particularly drawn to the music industry? How has your work been shaped by music?
A: I think it has something to do with the chemistry between my two passions – rock music and design history. My goal is to find a link between the sound and their visual representation. I started listening to and playing rock music when I was a teenager and my taste in music expanded, changing and evolving over the years. Although my dreams of being a guitarist got shattered when I played with real musicians, I still spent years listening and researching the roots of different musical genres.
Q: Music artists typically have a sound identity. How do you turn that identity into visual arts?
A: I always look at music as genres. Most musical works fall under a certain category or genre and each genre has its own visual culture. By understanding the culture behind the music, I am able to figure out what kind of design language or elements I am going to use.
Q: You and the Muddy Basin Ramblers have quite a long history working together. How has your working relationship with the band evolved over the years?
A: I have always had a passion for vintage design, especially the turn of the century era or the Victorian era. When I met David, the leader of the band, I gave him one of my early works from 2004, which was a vintage Victorian-style designed calendar. The historic visual style fit perfectly with their jug band music while he was planning for their next album “The Medicine Show”. From then on our long-term collaboration started.
Q: Your artwork for the band’s album “Formosa Medicine Show” has even been nominated for a Grammy Award. What kind of direction did the Muddy Basin Ramblers give you when designing the artwork?
A: The concept of “The Medicine Show” tells the story of a touring band selling “miracle cure” patented medicines and other products. Popular between the 1900s and 1930s, this was also when the jug band music genre originated. The title “Formosa Medicine Show” seemingly added another layer to the context of “Taiwan”. He told me that he wanted the cover to mimic a vintage medicine packaging but exactly “how” was the real challenge.
Q: Is there a medium you haven’t touched on yet that you’d like to try? Say, working on the art direction of a music video?
A: Massimo Vignelli once said, “If you can design one thing, you can design everything.” I love doing stuff that I haven’t done before and I mean anything. I can clearly remember the first time I was asked to design a CD, a book, an art installation, and a festival poster. There was always a first time for any unfamiliar medium. It does take time, effort, and energy to get familiar with one single medium but I love the learning process.
Good things are meant to be shared. 😉 To see more of Onion Design’s work, check out the links below!
Behance: Onion Design Associates 洋蔥設計
Facebook: Onion Design
LinkedIn: Andrew Wong